BWI of North Central Illinois was created to help meet the growing needs of Rockford and surrounding counties. We span Winnebago, Boone, Dekalb, Kane, McHenry and Kendall counties. All members of our leadership team are certified Volunteer Babywearing Educators (VBE) and are accredited by Babywearing International Inc. The leadership team includes board members who are responsible for making decisions as applicable to the future of the group. The leadership team also includes meeting leaders who are responsible for leading the monthly meetings or other events. Here's our current leadership team and a little bit about each of us.
Melissa Augustine- ABE Meeting Leader
I am the lucky mom of three little ones ages 4 years, 3 years and 18 months. I started babywearing with my first using a DIY stretchy and a Balboa adjustable sling. After some research I quickly moved on to a mei tai, soft structured carrier and eventually wraps. When I had my second child, babywearing became a necessity. My son was very needy and wearing him was the only way that he would be content and the only way that I could care for each of my children while still meeting the needs of the other. I love the freedom, convenience and confidence babywearing provides me and of course nothing beats all those cuddles! Since I first discovered babywearing it has saved me in so many ways both physically and mentally which has always inspired me to let as many people as possible know what an incredible opportunity and parenting tool it is. I am really excited to be able to share my experience and help spread the babywearing love!
Sarah Montgomery- VBE Meeting Leader and Board President
I’m a mom to a Beautiful little 14 month old miracle. I started babywearing when my daughter was about a month old and fell in love with it. I started with a Moby wrap and quickly progressed into trying other carriers. We have 3 dogs, a bird, a rabbit, chickens, and a duck at our house and without babywearing I would never be able to get chores done or give the animals the attention that they need. Babywearing also allows me the mobility to care for my daughter as I tend to the 2500+ square feet of Garden that I grow. She isn’t worn nearly as much at this point, but it still provides us with some great cuddle time and a great way to settle her down when she is sick or has problems sleeping.
You will most often find me in a wrap, Ring Sling or Mei Tai when I’m wearing and occasionally a buckle carrier. They have each had their place in the babywearing relationship I have with my daughter. I am so happy to share my love of babywearing and to help others find what works for them.
Katy Meyer - VBE
I'm a stay at home mom to two wonderful children - almost 3 year old son and 13 month old daughter. My babywearing journey started almost three years ago with a ring sling, I had no idea how to use! I'm so thankful that I attended a meeting early on and learned how to properly use the carrier. It allowed me so much freedom, comfort for baby and built in snuggles. At that point, I knew that I wanted to someday be able to help other caregivers find the same freedom.
When my daughter was born, babywearing became a necessity for me. I was easily able to keep up with my busy toddler while keeping baby close and comfortable. I'm not sure I would have survived the first few months without babywearing. It was then that I branched out of my ringsling box into the world of different carriers. It's amazing how many wonderful options are out there, and I'm looking forward to being able to help each caregiver find something that is a great fit for their needs.
Jennifer Grant - VBE
I am a stay at home mom to Connor, born 9/2010 and Kaelyn born 10/2013. I knew when I was pregnant with Connor that I wanted to babywear. At the time, I did know that there was so much to about babywearing - I figured you bought a sling, put it on, put your baby in it - done! I practiced with Connor, and he hated it! He struggled and pushed and screamed. I was at the end of my rope. Then I found Babywearing International! In one meeting, I was educated about the carrier I had, tried a new carrier - a Babyhawk and made a friend! After that, babywearing became a necessary part of my life as a parent and I became a huge advocate for the practice of babywearing.
I started as a VBE for BWI of Chicagoland in May 2013 and have been working primarily in Crystal Lake and Schaumburg. I am so grateful to continue educating babywearers and potential babywearers in my community with Babywearing International of North Central Illinois and spreading the love of babywearing to others.
Alieta Guntly - VBE, Board Vice President & Chapter Librarian
I am a mom to two boys, now ages 6 and 4. I have been babywearing since my first son was a couple weeks old. Having kids close in age made babywearing a very big part of how we got things done on a daily basis. Babywearing still helps us when the children are willing to go up. I am happy to be helping out as one of our chapter's lending librarians and love sharing my knowledge about babywearing. In my spare time, I play in a handbell choir, enjoy gardening, going to airshows, and puzzles of all kinds.
Tressa Smith - VBE
I am a mom to Mattie, born 7/2011, and Blake, born 7/2014. I started babywearing my oldest around 2 months old with a Sleepy Wrap (stretchy wrap) that was gifted to me by a friend. We enjoyed it so much that we quickly became familiar with Mei Tais, Rings Slings and woven wraps. Babywearing is an essential parenting tool for me and my carriers are an investment in my sanity. Wearing my babies gives me the ability to keep them close to me and still get done the things I need to do. To boldly go where no stroller has gone before. When I started babywearing, I learned from internet videos because there were no groups near me. I want to share my experience and give others the hands-on help that I could not find.